On CT Framework and Rebranding CISE

The recent e.mail exchange regarding the unmentionable, "E" and other "scary" CISE terms brought to mind the discussion regarding re-branding of these terms. So I've put together a few thoughts along those lines. The key question being,

"How can we get the student's attention, and interest in CT / CISE subject matter?"

FLC could provide for a cross-disciplinary Managed Information CT Education Framework with coursework that is sufficiently broad based, innovative, and flexible enough (as technology and industry evolves) to act as a clearinghouse between student's career objectives / aspirations / desires and the skilled labor requirements of business in the year 2020, while maintaining overall education goals for a variety of student segments..

We could begin with:

I. An Introduction to (Computational) Thinking - a G.E. prerequisite that is broad based, illustrating problem solving, information management, introduction to industry (and government), future career options and skills required by employers, student interest, and skills development.

The CT General Education (G.E.) Disciplinary framework could provide for:

  1. Personalization & Participation: Offer program tracks that engages their interests (CT tracks).
  2. Speak in their language and the language of industry/business (re branding taxonomy from traditional to modern)
  3. Provide a pathway to jobs and career opportunities.
  4. Show students the opportunities to achieve their aspirational goals via their interests.
  5. "Soft" start through functional disciplines of interest to them and re branding of CS terms (more on that below).
  6. Targeted student segmentation - student focus, attention via broad based CT introductory prerequisites. and career exploration embedded in the course.
  7. Speak to their altruism - Innovation -"Change the world" opportunities - technology in alternative energies, health care, media, entertainment, entrepreneurship, industry, government, education, etc.
II. The framework enables a Student Driven CT Management Program where different "tracks" position the students for different functions in the industry. This would allow the student to self select and direct in the industry based on their interests and choose an academic track defined and validated by the skills requirements of industry.

III. A G.E. Innovation in Information Management Pathways Program (for Services and Industry) that delineates disciplinary functional tracks with some core courses and elective (experimental) disciplinary industry offerings.

Ex: Innovation in Health care; Innovation in (place industry here)

Ex: Innovation in Marketing; Innovation in (place business function here)

The program prepares its students to learn to think critically (CT) in the identification and analysis of complex systems and work with/manipulate abstract conceptual frameworks to derive, create and deliver value for the organization (beyond the G.E. beginning CT course) within the context of a discipline of their interest.

IV. Beyond the Introduction to CT (G.E.) coursework, and its application to a particular discipline, we then engage the students in the possibilities of such thinking by enabling the study of CT in Innovation as an interdisciplinary subject.

Introduction to Innovation in [insert discipline here]; or "Introduction to Next Generation Disciplines"; a hook, to bring in the audience and have them learn to apply CT in an interdisciplinary manner while simultaneously exploring the potential possibilities of many career paths as they work with students from different tracks in the program.

V. Re-branding (and re-engineering) of existing coursework to express the CT objectives within core CISE to facilitate access, integration with the CT program framework, and approachability of computer science and engineering subjects.
  • Programming? "Introduction to Application Development (Software Engineering) and Management"- inclusion of Facebook development for example, may be more compelling than just traditional languages.
  • Database? "Introduction to Information Management"
Terms like Word Processing, Spreadsheets, Database sound dated and give the perception of low level skills. We should "speak" to student's aspirations and inspire them to achieve. So we re brand and re engineer such coursework. Example:

"Introduction to Business or Office Productivity Suites" where assignments can include presenting a marketing campaign (or other industry specific function/discipline), developing and populating database to feed spreadsheets with pivot tables for calculations merging the results with targeted marketing campaign documents that are published on the web (marketing just being an example of a higher value functional area of potential interest for students).

What thoughts do all of you have regarding the development of a multi-level framework - CT basics, CT + discipline, and CT + interdisciplinary, and the re-branding of terms that perhaps alienate the students from pursuits of such CISE disciplines?

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  1. Phil Tierney Says:

    Ray...great post. I like the idea of a GE intro and a student-driven option though I notice that none of the faculty have responded or reacted. Not sure how flexible or tolerant CC or CSU can be here... Anyway, we can cross that bridge when we finally declare some program component projects. For those observers who are not from the FLC CPATH team, we are just kicking off this exploration activity, so bear with us as we prognosticate and float ideas to stimulate our collective thinking. I suppose a post on the intent of this project is due before long. Dan/Bernard/Gary?